I’ve been studying woodworking magazines since 1992 or so, and I
have stored up with all the main titles since no less than 1996. I
know a lot of the writers and editors, and I believe quite a bit about
their content material and the way it’s introduced. (I can’t assist myself,
actually, as a result of I’ve been in media my entire life.)
Over the last 10 years I’ve watched woodworking magazines
shrink in each manner. Fewer subscribers. Fewer editors. Fewer
pages. Thinner paper. Smaller bodily pages (what we name
“trim measurement”). It sucks to see this occur as a result of I do know that
which means the magazines are struggling.
However what I’ve additionally seen is that the standard of the editorial
content material has been bettering in each woodworking journal. Why?
As a result of the one folks left within the enterprise are A-list cage
fighters. You must be good – actually good – to maintain a print
journal alive in a digital world the place a woodworker in tight
shorts or a muscle shirt on YouTube can command as many
eyeballs as concern that represents months of labor.
After I began in magazines within the 1990s there have been no on-line
movies. So one of the best ways to succeed in woodworkers was to promote
in a woodworking journal. So a writer may very well be considerably
lazy and nonetheless run a worthwhile journal. Because of this, there
have been too many woodworking magazines that have been crammed with too
a lot fluff (construct a moose with a pencil sharpener in its
There have been additionally different components that artificially inflated the
variety of subscribers, particularly the Publishers’ Clearinghouse
Sweepstakes (what we name “agent” enterprise), which might
artificially inflate subscription numbers to draw
promoting that the magazines didn’t actually deserve.
All that got here crashing down within the 2000s when the agent
enterprise evaporated, digital content material turned dominant and
printing and mailing issues turned (as at all times) dearer
than it was the 12 months earlier than. Woodworking magazines started to
shut. Woodwork, American Woodworker and Store
Notes have been only a few of the main casualties.
The survivors began appearing extra realistically. They let their
subscription numbers fall to sustainable ranges, they reduce workers
and editorial prices. And so they centered on offering content material that
kicks the butts of the muscle shirts and tight shorts.
Decide up any woodworking journal, not essentially Common
Woodworking Journal, and I believe you’ll discover fewer dufus-y
tasks (a “taco corral!”) and extra stuff that’s considerate
and easily can’t be discovered on YouTube. I now sit up for
receiving the magazines I’ve subscribed to, as an alternative of dreading
the act of sifting via the sludge to seek out some nugget of
So don’t hand over on magazines but. I haven’t.
— Christopher Schwarz